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The Southern Jewish weekly. [volume] (Jacksonville, Fla.) 1939-1992, April 10, 1942, Image 7

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Friday, April 10, 1942
■NORMAN CORWIN,
■Shakespeare of The
I A BY PAUL R GREENE
l, I Norman Lewis Corwin, unbe
lievably handsome, 6 feet tall,
Krown-eyed, moustached, is one of
K,e most important figures in the
Etdio world. He has opened the
K ir W aves to poetry. He has help-
WL ma ke of radio a medium of ex
pression for thinkers and creative
■artists who attempt to reach adult
Rninds. He has set precedents, as
Kn helping put across the sensa-
Knnal "Ballad for Americans.” It
Kras Corwin who wrote and pro
duced the unforgettable “Bill of
■bights’’ program which thrilled
■the nation. And it was Corwin
■who made America laugh with
■‘My Client Curly,” the story of a
■dancing caterpillar, and cry with
■"They Fly Through the Air With
■he Greatest of Ease,” a keen and
■bitter poetic-drama of Fascist
■bombers wrecking happy homes.
I I And Norman Corwin, the boy
■wonder of radio, the pride of the
■Columbia Broadcasting System,
■he man who has often worked
■himself into a state of collapse, is
■only 31 years old.
I Corwin was born in Boston on
■May 3, 1910, the third son of
■amuel and Rose Corwin. His
■parents are not only proud of
■Norman, but are happy that their
■other boys, Emil and Albert, are
■iso good writers, fine newspaper
■men.
I At the age of 17, not yet
■through with high school, Norman
■rote letters to the editors of 80
■daily newspapers in New England
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Snper fead stores la yvmr neighborhood to serve yen.
in an attempt to land a job. He
found one with the Greenfield
Daily Recorder. Tall for his years,
and clever, he readily persuaded
the editor that he was 24 < With
in one month he became sports
editor of the paper. By so doing
he followed the tradition in the
newspaper world that one must
know something about sports be
fore getting anywhere.
For three years the Jewish boy
covered sports, did feature work,
court reporting and wrote movie
reviews. An independent soul, he
wrote what he pleased. This, how
ever, displeased the motion-picture
owners, who banned the enthusi
astic crusader from their theaters.
Things looked pretty bad for a
while, but it was at this time that
Norman’s oldest brother, Emil
(who helped him later in his ca
reer), first came to the rescue.
Emil, who had been working on
the Springfield Republican, joined
the Providence Journal. Always
keeping his little brother in mind,
Emil recommended Norman for
his former job. Norman got the
job. When the most poetic of the
Corwins left the Recorder, he
suggested that his brother Albert
take his place. He did. As a re
sult of this brotherly-love angle,
, for one year the three brothers
| did editorial work on three New
I England newspapers.
I Norman Corwin worked for the
Republican for seven years. Dur
ing., these long, hard, interesting
years he learned how to write
rapidly, with ease and with color.
Although recognized as the best
“color” writer for the paper he
never won a byline. The policy of
that staid daily was that the
news, not the reporter, is import
ant.
Like many other newspapers,
the Republican realized that it
had to keep in touch with its pub
lic through radio, if it was to hold
on to its popularity. So it start
ed a 15-minute news broadcast.
Because Corwin had a pleasant
baritone voice he was elected the
announcer. For the first time he
received credit for his work. His
name became popular. He was,
in away, a success.
After a few years he became
radio editor of the Republican. It i
seemed that he had gone as far i
as he was destined to go. But a
gain Emil popped up. -This time
the job was really a good one: ra
dio director for Twentieth-Cen
tury-Fox Films in' New; York. A
new field had opened up to him,
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THE SOUTHERN JEWISH WEEKLY
but this, too, was not enough for
him. Inherently an artist, Corwin
wanted to step out on his own and
experiment.
He penned a letter to Elliot
Sanger, program chief of WQXR,
one of New York’s “classic” sta
tions. Corwin suggested that he
attempt to make poetry sound po
etic on the air. Sanger agreed
to let him work it out. For forty
weeks Corwin turned out verse
Plays, experimental dramatiza
tions and other scripts which fit
ted into the whim of the moment.
This constant plugging, experi
menting and thinking of new ideas
finally bore results. He was invit
ed to make a guest appearance on
NBC’s then popular Magic Key
of RCA. His work was noted by
a CBS official who offered him a
job as director-performer. Apply
ing himself to his task with unus
ual vigor, Corwin, after a short
spin of writing, plays for radio,
conceived the idea for “Words
without Music.” For 25 weeks he
turned out scripts. He wrote
them, adapted them, cast and pro
duced them, did research when
necessary and sometimes compos
ed his own music to fit the plays,
i The result? Physical collapse.
Corwin rested. He took a pro
tracted vacation. On his return
his imagination was aglow. He
; wrote “The Plot To Overthrow
Christmas.” Then came “They
Fly Through the Air With, the
Greatest of Ease.” It caused a
sensation. Both audience and
critics turned to this young man
who was doing things with radio.
When “My Client Curley” hit a
startled public, the American ra
dio audience knew that a true ar
tist of radio had arrived. He met
Earl Robinson, who talked with
him about a ballad he had written,
called “Ballad of Uncle Sam.”
Corwin listened to it, suggested
minor changes, including changing
the name to “Ballad for Ameri
cans,” presented it over the air
after getting Paul Robeson to sing
it—and the rest is history.
His latest volume, “Thirteen by
Corwin,” reveals that radio can
now approach the mature individ
ual just as poetry can. The use
of free verse, the effect of sound,
the declamations and the clamor
and the imagery that are connect
ed with poetry are all used by
Corwin with subtle and not-so
subtle effects.
That of the boy-wonders of ra
dio (Orson Welles, Arch Oboler
and Irving Reiss are included)
Corwin, Oboler and Reiss are Jew
ish may, perhaps, be an indication
of the rapid adjustment of Jewish
i artists to new forces, new medi
' urns, new ideas. Radio will play
a significant role in this war. Its
task is mighty; its potentialities
yet unrealized. Men like Corwin
will help win the war with their
ambition, their imagination and
their magic pens.
Answers
(Questions on Page Three)
1. Ahasuerus, the Wandering
Jew, in medieval legend.
2. Shylock, in “The Merchant
of Venice,” by William Shakes
peare.
3. Rebecca, in “Ivanhoe,” by
Sir Walter Scott.
4. Fagin, in “Oliver Twist,” by
Charles Dickens.
5. Svengali, in “Trilby,” by
George du Maurier.
THIS IS NO TIME TO SWAP EXPERIENCE AND
, PROVED ABILITY FOR INEXPERIENCE! , ?
A Woman’s World
BY RUTH KARPF
THE INVENTOR: “Woman of
the Week,” if not of the year, is
Ruth Schimmel-Hoffman, the fair
haired, blue eyed girl from Phila
delphia who recently made an im
portant scientific discovery at the
Hebrew University, on Mount
Scopus, Jerusalem.
Actually the discovery was not
of so recent a date. But the story
was not allowed out by the censor
because it was considered a “mili
tary secret.”
Mrs. Hoffman received her sci
entific training at the University
of Pennsylvania. Her zoology
professor, Dr. D. H. Wenrich not
only remembers her very well, but
even cites a list of courses she
took. “Four in botany, one in
physics, physiology, microtech
nique, protogoology, the study of
one-cell organisms, and bacteri
ology. “With the knowledge gain
ed from these courses, neatly
bundled in a B. Sc., Ruth Schim
irfel left for Palestine in 1983 for
graduate work at the university.
The Hebrew University on Mount
Scopus is an inspiring place. On
the one side it overlooks desolate
Arab villages, with little grey
stone houses nestling in the hills
and the desert where the village
of Anatoth once stood, the birth
; place of Jeremiah who said “Ki
Mizion tezeh Torah, udvarHashem
Mirushalayim,”—from Zion shall
come forth the teaching, and the
word of God from Jerusalem.
To many wounded soldiers—and
’ civilians—Ruth Schimmel’s discov
ery has already been “the word of
God.”
Ruth studied the reaction of an
imal tissues outside the body, and
discovered that “the peculiar be
havior of malignant cells in the
organism is not to be found in any
unusually high growth capacity of
the cells, or in any unusually high
amount of growth-promoting sub
stance i n malignant tissues.”
While she was working on the ex
periments which led to this dis
covery (which in itself was a rev
olution in medical thinking) she
discovered an adult animal tissue
extract which showed an influence
on cell reproduction many times
greater than that of any other
known substance.
With her collaborator, Dr. Leo
nid Dolansky, and Dr. Schloss of
the Rothschild-Hadassah Hospital,
she prepared an extract from
these substances which has al
ready achieved phenominal results
and is being used both in military
and in civilian hospitals.
The other side of the University
overlooks Jerusalem, the Old City,
the New City, and the modern
Jewish quarter of Rehavia where
Ruth Schimmel-Hoffman has made
her home. She met her husband
on her very first evening in Jeru
salem. He, Leon F. Hoffman is a
graduate of. Columbia; they got
married in 1933.
I met Ruth Schimmel Hoffman
in Jerusalem, shortly before I left.
When I tpld her I was going to the
States, she said: “Give my regards
to the folks. Tell them there is
a lot to do here, and that I am
very happy.”
THE AVIATRIX: The first
aviatrix of the future Jewish Air
Force has just come into being.
She is your columnist Ruth Karpf.
She is a Palestinian and can al
ready boast of one full hour ini
the air; laying her hands on con
trols for the first time, 1,100 ft.,
over Far Rockaway Air Port, she
thought of the time when she
might ferry the planes with ea.
Mogen David on their wings, andi
when these planes would drop
their first bombs on the Wilhelm
strasse or perhaps even Berchtes
garden. Good luck to her, don’t
you think?
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Page Seven

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